Fried Catfish and Spaghetti

Fried Catfish and Spaghetti

Spaghetti in a hearty tomato sauce accompanies this tender, flaky fish, coated in crisp cornmeal in this Southern dish. It’s often paired with potato salad, and linked to the Deep South and the Midwest. But the recipe developer Millie Peartree grew up eating it in New York, where her mother, Millie Bell, who is from Savannah, Ga., would serve it as part of Friday night fish fries. This recipe calls for catfish, but whiting or flounder would also work well. Just make sure to look for a cornmeal that’s not extra fine for the crispiest fish.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    Marinate the catfish: In a medium bowl, mix together buttermilk, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the catfish strips, turning to coat each side, and place in the refrigerator to marinate as you prepare the sauce.
  2. Step 2

    Prepare the pasta sauce: In a large pot set over medium-high, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add ground meat, onion, green pepper, seasoned salt and black pepper. Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through and the vegetables have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  3. Step 3

    Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, stock, sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, parsley, basil and red-pepper flakes. Continue to simmer until sauce has thickened, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Step 4

    While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
  5. Step 5

    As pasta cooks, prepare the fish for frying: As sauce cooks, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high in a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet until it reaches 365 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  6. Step 6

    In a medium bowl or resealable plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, flour and seafood seasoning. Add the fish to the mixture, a few strips at a time, and tumble gently to coat evenly
  7. Step 7

    Working in batches, fry fillets until golden brown, about 5 minutes, flipping occasionally with tongs. Avoid crowding the pan, so that the fillets have room to brown properly. (Fish should be slightly crisp outside, and moist and flaky inside.) Drain on paper towels, and hit with seafood seasoning or salt as soon as the fried strips come out of the oil.
  8. Step 8

    Toss the spaghetti into the simmered sauce. Serve the sauced pasta across plates, alongside the fried fish. Sprinkle more basil and parsley over the top.